The Barry’s Bay and Area Sledge Hockey Club started in the fall of 2013 with the support of Sledge Hockey of Eastern Ontario (SHEO). We started out with five committed players and the belief that we could do it! For the first six years of the program, we ran a Recreation program where we would meet once a week to play for fun. Over the years we have had a few players come and go but the bulk of our Barry’s Bay Blades team has been together for more than five years. You can see it on the ice: they know each other well and they play together out there. (Above Barry’s Bay Blades team and coaches. Photo Charlie Stoppa)
Last spring a group of parents got together to see if we were able to get enough interest to enter a team into the Ontario Sledge Hockey Association (OSHA). This past fall we were not only able to enter a competitive team into the OSHA league, we were also able to continue with our Recreation program. A grant we received in partnership with the Community Resource Centre Killaloe helped to subsidize these programs and allowed us to get more players on the ice. The competitive team practices each Sunday for 1.5 hours and the Recreation program runs on Friday nights for 1 hour.
Blades hold first place in Division
The Blades competitive team has a season that takes in five home games and five away games, then to playoffs. Currently they are sitting in first place in their division – OSHA Open Division Pool B. This is quite an impressive accomplishment for a team in their first year. Our goalie, Joseph Afelskie has only had one goal scored on him in a total of eight games. The Blades have two more away games and then they are off to Champions Weekend in Oakville, where all the playoff games are played on one weekend.
Love of hockey makes dream come true
The idea of starting a local program came about from a young Valley boy who had a dream to play hockey. That boy happens to be my son. Chadd Stoppa was born with spina bifida which prevented him from playing stand-up hockey, but it did not stop him from loving the sport and having a desire to play. Sledge Hockey has allowed him to play hockey. When he was in kindergarten, we bought him his first sledge so that he could participate in the skating program that was being offered through the school and his love of sledge has only grown since then. There were a few years during which we drove to Ottawa for him to play on a competitive SHEO sledge hockey team when there was not enough interest here in the Valley.
Blades win two more at home last Sunday
Blades take Northumberland Predators 6-0: Last weekend we hosted two home games here in Barry’s Bay. The first game was played against the Northumberland Predators and the Blades ended with a score of 6-0. Assistant Captain Cayden Beanish started off the scoring unassisted in the first period. This was followed by a goal by Assistant Captain Logan Beanish. Maddox Jenkins scored the third goal of the game — the first goal of his sledge hockey career — assisted by Cayden Beanish. London Beanish scored the fourth goal assisted by Cayden Beanish and Madison Jenkins. Then Chadd Stoppa (Captain) scored the fifth goal assisted by Mackenzie Levean and Logan Beanish. The sixth goal was scored by Chadd Stoppa.
Blades win 6-0 against Mississauga Cruisers: In the second game we played against the Mississauga Cruisers. They arrived to the arena in style riding a coach bus. This game also ended with a score of 6-0 for the Blades. Goals are as follows: first scored by Cayden Beanish assisted by Chadd Stoppa; second goal by Maddox Jenkins assisted by Alyssa Levean; third goal scored by Chadd Stoppa; goal number four went to Cayden Beanish; the fifth goal was by Mackenzie Levean assisted by Logan Beanish; as before Chadd Stoppa scored the final (sixth) goal of the game.
Blades appreciate your support
We had a nice group of spectators out to watch both games on February 9. It is always exciting for the team to be able to show family and friends what this sport is all about. We are so fortunate to live in such a supportive community. This community continues to embrace the sport and support our team in growing and moving forward.
Harder than it looks
I have tried sledge hockey this year for the first time and it is a sport that is much harder than it looks. Attempting to play has given me a much greater appreciation for the talent that our players have. I am so proud of how far they have come and what a great group they are. Of course the team would not be where they are today with out our amazing coaching staff. Head Coach Adam Stoppa, Assistant Coach Denver Beanish and Trainer Mathew Jenkins have been on the bench since day one and we continue to appreciate how much time and energy they give to the team.
About the author: Based out of Barry’s Bay, Anita Jessup is an adviser on Developmental Services for Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County. With three active children, Anita still finds time to volunteer. Along with organizing and fundraising for the Bay Blades Sledge Hockey Club, this year she serves as President of the Barry’s Bay and Area Figure Skating Club.